Ask Your Preacher
I recently saw on a Facebook post by a good friend in our congregation where she mentioned she doesn't feel the Bible is really "an instruction manual for life"; she didn't want to underestimate the importance of the Bible, but this is how she felt. I was quite concerned when I saw this post, but really, I guess I just want to see if I can get a clearer explanation as to what that may mean. Thank you for your time.
We can’t say what your friend meant by her statement, but we can tell you that the Bible definitely is an instruction manual for life. Here are some things for your friend to consider:
- Peter said that the Bible gives us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).
- The apostle Paul said that the Bible is God’s power for our salvation (Rom 1:16).
- Jesus said that if we want to enter into life, we should keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).
The Bible is designed by God to be our roadmap to salvation and life.
Am I bad because I do not like someone?
There are lots of reasons to not like people – some good, some bad. If you don’t like someone because they are wicked or making sinful choices, those are legitimate reasons (1 Cor 15:33). If the reason is based upon jealousy, bitterness, or vengeance… that is another story (Jas 3:14). You have to examine your motives and decide why you feel the way you do.
Regardless of your relationship with the person, you should still treat them with love and respect. The Bible teaches us to love even our enemies (Matt 5:44).
A close friend of mine is a devout Christian. She has Type 1 diabetes, but beyond taking insulin to stay alive, she ignores the health care system totally. She has medical insurance; I think she’s trusting her health to God almost 100%. Does the Word of God sanctify this? I know faith in God is important, but I am concerned…
Dear Troubled Friend,
If your question is whether or not a Christian is allowed to use doctors and medicine, the answer is ‘yes’. Paul told Timothy to take wine medicinally for a sick stomach (1 Tim 5:23), and Jas 5:14 describes the elders praying and using oil, a common general ointment, when someone is sick. God told mankind to take dominion of this world and use it for our good – this includes the creation and use of medicine (Gen 1:26). Using medicine is not in opposition to having faith in God. As for how much and when each individual should use medicine, that is up to each person’s discretion and wisdom.
I have a friend who is constantly asking why God didn't make us perfect in the first place since He knew we would fall. I've tried to explain His love in giving us free will, but she can't accept or understand that.
I've always known He created us for His glory, and giving us free will allows us an opportunity to do that by choosing His will for our lives. I just don't know how to relate to my friend in a way that she understands and accepts. Got any suggestions?
Dear Fumbling Friend,
You might try talking about the definition of ‘perfect’ with your friend. ‘Perfect’ means ‘complete’ or ‘having all the desirable and required elements’. Perfect doesn’t mean that something can’t be broken or fail. A car engine can be in perfect condition, and yet, if you don’t put oil in it – it will break. A house can be perfectly constructed and still be destroyed by an earthquake. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them without defect (Gen 1:31). They were made exactly as He intended them – in His image (Gen 1:26). Adam and Eve were designed with eternal souls and the ability to choose their own destiny. They were perfectly designed with the free will to choose to love God or to choose to rebel against Him. In fact, if mankind were designed so that it would be impossible for them to sin – they wouldn’t have free will. God has given us the great gift of choice, and it is up to us what we do with it (Deut 30:19). God could have made us without the freedom to choose, but then we wouldn’t be “in His image”… we would be automatons. If every parent had the choice between having a child that may break their heart or purchasing a robot that would obey their every command… well, the choice is obvious. A robot is no replacement for a child.
I understand that all spiritual gifts are no longer needed and have ceased; I understand why. But a question came up with a Pentecostal friend that I need a little help with. What is the scripture that explains to us that God chooses to no longer speak to people directly? And what would be a good way to explain why He does not speak to people outside the Bible?
Trying To Help
Dear Trying To Help,
There are several places that you can go to explain this concept to your Pentecostal friend. Here are a few verses to show them:
- We are told that the Bible contains everything we need to know concerning life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If the Bible tells us everything we need to know, we don’t need anything else.
- The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t add or subtract from God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19). A vision or prophecy given to an individual would do exactly that. If a “vision” says more than the Bible, we don’t need it, and if it says the same thing as the Bible, we don’t need it.
- Heb 1:1-2 says that God used to speak to mankind through many diverse methods, but today He has spoken to us through His Son. Jesus’ Word is now our only guide.
- Jude 1:3 says that we have the Word of God handed down “once and for all”. God has finished providing revelation to us.
- The silver bullet verses are 1 Cor 13:8-9, but it is a little lengthier discussion to handle all of the arguments in that verse. We recommend you read “Incomplete Understanding” for a complete breakdown of the 1 Cor 13:8-9 argument.
The long and the short of it is that prophecy was needed until the Bible was complete, but now that we have everything God wanted us to know, prophecy has ceased.